President Nasheed has said the government’s goal is to find an alternative for every staff made redundant. He made this statement in his weekly radio address which was broadcast by the Voice of Maldives at 10.15 today.

Under a series of cost-cutting measures, the government had earlier decided to reduce the number of government employees and allowances.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved redundancy allowances for government employees who, within a period determined by the government, resign, or are dismissed, from their jobs.

The redundancy allowances include:
1. A loan of up to Rf500,000 based on business proposals submitted by those who plan to start a small or medium business
2. A loan of up to Rf500,000 to those who plan to seek higher education
3. Tuition fees and an allowance to take up a training of 6-8 months under the Technical and Vocational Education Training

The President said: “One of the most important measures to improve our economy, government administration and public finances is to balance our expenditure with our revenue.

“To this end, we must reduce the number of government employees.”

The government also spends a significant amount from its budget for paying its debts.

The President said this year and in 2009, the government has to pay Rf 1.4 billion dollars to pay debts.

This means, he added, the government has to pay US$ 120 million next year.

Turning to infrastructure projects, the President said in 2 to 3 months, the government would close contract with several companies to build sewerage systems and harbours.

The President said the government will undertake major projects in at least 16 islands within the next two months.

He noted what the government lacked was money for its budget, while there were now more opportunities for funding specific projects.